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Why it's important for it to stop: Examining the mental health correlates of bullying and ill-treatment at work in a cohort study

Butterworth, Peter; Leach, Liana S; Kiely, Kim M

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OBJECTIVE There is limited Australian information on the prevalence and mental health consequences of bullying and ill-treatment at work. The aims of this study were to use data from an ongoing Australian longitudinal cohort study to (1) compare different measures of workplace bullying, (2) estimate the prevalence of bullying and ill-treatment at work, (3) evaluate whether workplace bullying is distinct from other adverse work characteristics and (4) examine the unique contribution of workplace...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorButterworth, Peter
dc.contributor.authorLeach, Liana S
dc.contributor.authorKiely, Kim M
dc.date.accessioned2018-02-06T00:09:28Z
dc.date.available2018-02-06T00:09:28Z
dc.identifier.issn0004-8674
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/140382
dc.description.abstractOBJECTIVE There is limited Australian information on the prevalence and mental health consequences of bullying and ill-treatment at work. The aims of this study were to use data from an ongoing Australian longitudinal cohort study to (1) compare different measures of workplace bullying, (2) estimate the prevalence of bullying and ill-treatment at work, (3) evaluate whether workplace bullying is distinct from other adverse work characteristics and (4) examine the unique contribution of workplace bullying to common mental disorders in mid-life. METHOD The sample comprised 1466 participants (52% women) aged 52-58 from wave four of the Personality and Total Health (PATH) through Life study. Workplace bullying was assessed by a single item of self-labelling measure of bullying and a 15-item scale of bullying-related behaviours experienced in the past 6 months. Factor analysis the identified underlying factor structure of the behavioural bullying scale. RESULTS Current bullying was reported by 7.0% of respondents, while 46.4% of respondents reported that they had been bullied at some point in their working life. Person-related and work-related bullying behaviours were more common than violence and intimidation. The multi-dimensional scale of bullying behaviours had greater concordance with a single item of self-labelled bullying (Area Under the Curve = 0.88) than other adverse work characteristics (all Area Under the Curves < 0.67). Self-labelled bullying and scales reflecting person-related and work-related bullying were independent predictors of depression and/or anxiety. CONCLUSION This study provides unique information on the prevalence and mental health impacts of workplace bullying and ill-treatment in Australia. Workplace bullying is a relatively common experience, and is associated with increased risk of depression and anxiety. Greater attention to identifying and preventing bullying and ill-treatment in the workplace is warranted.
dc.description.sponsorshipThis work was supported by National Health and Medical Research Council project grant #1002160, funding from Safe Work Australia, Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship #FT13101444, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellowship #1035803, and Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation (AADRF) Fellowship #DGP13F00005.
dc.format11 pages
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.publisherSAGE Publications
dc.rights© The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists 2015 http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/issn/0004-8674/Author can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing). Author's post-print on author's personal website, departmental website, institutional website or institutional repository (Sherpa/Romeo 6/2/2018)
dc.sourceThe Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry
dc.subjectworkplace bullying
dc.subjectanxiety
dc.subjectdepression
dc.subjectharassment
dc.subjectmental health
dc.subjectanxiety
dc.subjectAustralia
dc.subjectbullying
dc.subjectdepression
dc.subjectfemale
dc.subjecthumans
dc.subjectlongitudinal studies
dc.subjectmale
dc.subjectmiddle aged
dc.subjectworkplace
dc.titleWhy it's important for it to stop: Examining the mental health correlates of bullying and ill-treatment at work in a cohort study
dc.typeJournal article
local.identifier.citationvolume50
dc.date.issued2016-11
local.publisher.urlhttps://au.sagepub.com/en-gb/oce/change-location/0
local.type.statusAccepted Version
local.contributor.affiliationButterworth, Peter, Centre for Research on Ageing, Health & Wellbeing, Research School of Population Health, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationLeach, Liana S., Centre for Research on Ageing, Health & Wellbeing, Research School of Population Health, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationKiely, Kim M., Centre for Research on Ageing, Health & Wellbeing, Research School of Population Health, The Australian National University
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/1002160
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/FT13101444
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/1035803
local.identifier.essn1440-1614
local.bibliographicCitation.issue11
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage1085
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage1095
local.identifier.doi10.1177/0004867415622267
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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